This experience sampling study examined the roles of trait self-compassion in everyday self-control. Specifically, this study examined whether trait self-compassion influences people’s self-efficacy in handling difficult self-control demands, and subsequently, their self-control success.
The participants were asked to respond to five random signals per day for seven consecutive days. When responding to each signal, they first indicated if they had exerted self-control over the past 30 min and, if yes, reported their momentary self-control experiences such as perceived difficulty, self-efficacy, and success. Trait self-compassion was measured 1 week before the experience sampling phase. A total of 1725 self-control episodes from 115 college students were analyzed.
No main effects of trait self-compassion on self-control difficulty, self-efficacy, and success were observed. Nevertheless, trait self-compassion interacted with perceived difficulty in predicting self-efficacy. Specifically, perceived difficulty was associated with reduced self-efficacy, only among individuals low in trait self-compassion.
Self-compassionate people appeared to be better at protecting self-efficacy when dealing with difficult self-control tasks. The findings provide nuanced views on how trait self-compassion may be beneficial to self-control in everyday life.